The History of Chevy Chase

In the 1890s, the Chevy Chase Land Company set out to develop the town of Chevy Chase. Two successful gold and silver-miners, Francis G. Newlands and William M. Stewart, purchased thousands of acres of land in the area just north of Washington, D.C. Their plan? To extend Connecticut Avenue north into Maryland. Along the way, building an electric railway, installing a water and sewer system, and building roads and other infrastructure.

Where Did the Name Chevy Chase Come From?

The name, Chevy Chase, which Newlands granted to the entire subdivision, has historical meaning. It was meant to describe a battle between Lord Percy of England and Earl Douglas of Scotland, as “chevaucehee” is a Scottish word describing border raid, while “chace” translated to hunting grounds. It was an English ballad from the 1600s that coined the word itself.

When Did The Town Come To Be?

After World War I, the automobile made it possible for Chevy Chase to begin real development. Why? Because it made living outside of the District a viable option. Residents quickly filled the lots in Chevy Chase Section IV, and that was just the beginning.

Big Boom

The 1920s brought big growth to Chevy Chase. Population grew and lots were improved, which meant that improvements and upgrades were in order. During the 1930s, sidewalks and streets were repaired, storm sewer catch basins were installed, and a tree-planting program took root in public spaces all over town.

Service Provision Functions

A lot of the Town’s government and service provisions are the same today that they were since the 1930s. The Town is still responsible for:

  • Sidewalk and street repair
  • Tree-planting program
  • Trash collection and numerous other services


The 1980s and 90s brought incredible growth and wealth to the town of Chevy Chase. It has become known for its highly educated and wealthy residents. In 2015, Business Insider named Chevy Chase one of the most affluent towns in the United States. The Stanford Graduate School of Education also recognized Chevy Chase as “the most educated town in America.”

Any Relation to Chevy Chase the Actor?

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the elephant in the room: Does Chevy Chase the actor have any connection or relation to Chevy Chase the town? The answer is: Kind of, but not really. Disappointing, we know. Chevy Chase, the actor, was born Cornelius Crane Chase in Woodstock, New York. Some sources say that his grandmother nicknamed him “Chevy” after the town, but other sources claim that the grandmother’s nickname was more from the 1600s English Ballad than the town itself.

Want to Know More?

Now that you understand the history, maybe you’d like to know a little bit more about where it is today, and where it’s going tomorrow. The Estridge Group knows everything there is to know about Chevy Chase real estate. We’d be happy to hop on a phone call or show you around if you’d like to know more.